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Athletes and Media React to Ray Rice Domestic Violence Video and Release

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistSeptember 8, 2014

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Updates from Sunday, Sept. 21

Ray Lewis reacted to Ray Rice's situation on ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown this morning:

Updates from Thursday, Sept. 11

Paul George tweeted about the Rice situation on Thursday morning, but he deleted the tweets after the fact (screenshots courtesy of Sports Illustrated and Kelly Cohen of the Washington Examiner):

Sports Illustrated @SInow

Paul George tweets support for Ray Rice, then quickly apologizes: http://t.co/dD8klT2yMi http://t.co/IVvKd9TfYU

kelly cohen @politiCOHEN_

today, in what not to tweet, by paul george http://t.co/NupMrw50wc

George then apologized for his statements:

Paul George @Yg_Trece

Let me apologize to the women and to the VICTIMS of domestic violence people my intent was not to downplay the situation..

 Pacers team president Larry Bird issued a statement regarding George's tweets, and George issued a formal apology as well, according to Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press:

Tim Reynolds @ByTimReynolds

Larry Bird speaks out on Paul George and he's not happy. http://t.co/D0ZFZz3LUc

Updates from Wednesday, Sept. 10

Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com provides a statement from Michael Vick on WFAN radio commenting on if Ray Rice should get a second chance following the announcement of his release from the Ravens and indefinite suspension:

I hope so.

Honestly, I wouldn’t know what to tell Ray Rice right now. That’s just being transparent with you right now. That situation is just so out of control. I just hope masses of people learn from this. As athletes, we understand the position that we’re in, and that we are superior athletes. Some things you’ve got to learn to bottle up. There are so many different ways to handle things that come about. We’ve just always got to be mindful and competent when we’re in those situations.

Floyd Mayweather also weighed in on Rice's situation on FightHubTV:

Updates from Tuesday, Sept. 9

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Darren Rovell of ESPN updated Ray Rice's relationship with Nike:

Darren Rovell @darrenrovell

Nike has terminated its endorsement contract with Ray Rice

Original Text

Those upset about the relative lack of discipline for Ray Rice are even angrier Monday after TMZ released a video showing his specific actions of domestic abuse.    

The NFL suspended the Baltimore Ravens running back in July for two regular-season games after a February altercation with his wife (then-fiancee), Janay Palmer, in an Atlantic City, New Jersey, casino elevator.

However, the Ravens announced Rice's release less than 10 hours after TMZ posted the footage from inside the elevator:

BALTIMORE RAVENS @Ravens

The #Ravens have terminated RB Ray Rice's contract this afternoon.

While there was dispute over what actually took place in the elevator, this is no longer in question.

WARNING: Following video contains graphic content.

According to Greg Aiello, commissioner Roger Goodell has decided to suspend Rice indefinitely in light of this new information:

Greg Aiello @gregaiello

Roger Goodell has announced that based on new video evidence that became available today he has indefinitely suspended Ray Rice.

Unsurprisingly, those who viewed the latest video had strong reactions to the behavior of the three-time Pro Bowler. They also expressed a mixture of approval and skepticism when Baltimore released Rice.

The White House released a statement via the NBC Nightly News Twitter account: 

NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt @NBCNightlyNews

NEW: White House releases statement on Ray Rice: "Hitting a woman is not something a real man does..." http://t.co/Uju4WT2Sce

Former NFL punter Chris Kluwe pointed out the Ravens only made the move after public backlash became too much of a public relations nightmare:  

Cassandra @ChrisWarcraft

Let's be clear. The Ravens releasing Ray Rice is because people are upset that the behavior was made this public. They had no issue before.

ESPN's Adam Schefter wondered if Rice will ever get another NFL shot:

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Ravens had no choice but to terminate Ray Rice's contract. Will be a long time, if ever, before another team signs him.

His colleague Bomani Jones agreed:

El Flaco @bomani_jones

ray rice’s career is probably over, btw.

Andrew Brandt of NFL Network noted that the Ravens will not have to pay him for being on the 53-man roster in 2014:

Andrew Brandt @AndrewBrandt

Ray Rice is NOT entitled to 2014 salary as a vested veteran. Must be on 53-man roster at season start; he was on the suspended list.

Dave Hyde of the Sun Sentinel wondered if Rice would have been released had the second video not come to light:

Dave Hyde @davehydesports

Ray Rice didn't get released because of what he did. He got released b/c video went public. Ravens backed him loudly 'til that point

Skepticism was the overarching theme of most reactions. Eric Koreen of the National Post offered his thoughts, saying the Ravens were making the move only for a public relations standpoint:

(((Eric Koreen))) @ekoreen

The Baltimore Ravens released Ray Rice once they were no longer able to spin his story. This isn't a team finding its moral compass.

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller offered a suggestion for one way the Ravens could help win back some upset fans:

Matt Miller @nfldraftscout

Would love to see the @Ravens offer a jersey exchange. Bring in your Rice Jersey and get money for another one.

Ray Lewis also commented on his former teammate (via Justin Fenton and Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun):

Justin Fenton @justin_fenton

Ray Lewis: "I'm disappointed. This is personal for me. I'm torn. This is a young man I took under my wing" #ESPN

Aaron Wilson @AaronWilson_NFL

Ray Lewis says his situation and Ray Rice are 'night and day'

Aaron Wilson @AaronWilson_NFL

Ray Lewis on Ray Rice: 'I told him, 'I will be there to talk to him.' I want to know what's going on in his heart, what's next for Ray Rice'

Following the release, sporting goods stores started pulling Rice's jersey (via Darren Rovell of ESPN and Eric Kay of CBS Sports):

Darren Rovell @darrenrovell

Modell's confirms it has pulled Ray Rice jerseys off the floors of its stores that carried them.

Eric Kay @ekaycbs

Just spoke to two Dick's Sporting Goods employees in the Baltimore area. Both said they were told to pull Ray Rice jerseys off the shelves.

Rovell also reported that Rutgers is in the process of removing Rice from its materials:

Darren Rovell @darrenrovell

Rutgers is in the process of removing all Ray Rice images from any of the school's material, reports ABC's @JoshMargolin

Former Ravens teammate Chris Canty commented on his feelings toward Rice via Jeff Darlington of NFL.com:

Jeff Darlington @JeffDarlington

An emotional Chris Canty on former Ravens teammate Ray Rice: “I hate the sin, but I love the sinner."

Denver Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton was one of the most outspoken players:

Fellow Broncos defender Chris Harris offered a similar opinion:

Chris Harris @ChrisHarrisJr

The NFL should have zero tolerance for domestic violence. There is never a reason for any man to be violent towards any woman.

Former Broncos and current Washington Redskins safety Duke Ihenacho also weighed in on the video:

Duke @NachoLyfe

No I don't care how you slice it, it's wrong. They gotta open the case back up and come down hard on this one

Former New Orleans Saints offensive lineman LeCharles Bentley shared his thoughts on the incident:

LeCharles Bentley @LeCharlesBent65

His mind was made up he was going to hit her when they got on elevator. Couldn't be my daughter, suspension would be least of his concerns.

Another former member of the Saints, Scott Fujita, had some choice words about Rice (WARNING: LANGUAGE IS NSFW).

Former Bears coach and current ESPN analyst Mike Dikta commented on how this will impact Rice via Deadspin.com: "I don't know Ray at all. I'm sure he's not a bad guy, but he made a bad mistake. Hey, two lives, are ruined. These two lives are ruined. His earning power is destroyed. That's an important thing."

Journeyman quarterback Brady Quinn believes Rice should be out of the league:

Brady Quinn @3rd_Goal

Am I the only one who believes it should be a lifetime ban for the first time a player commits domestic violence? They should be done period

Former quarterback Rich Gannon thinks the NFL needs to punish Rice further:

Rich Gannon @RichGannon12

The Ray Rice video was both disturbing and disgusting. I think the league and Ravens need to revisit the punishment in this particular case.

Of course, it was not just players who had an emotional reaction to the released footage. ESPN's Max Bretos questioned the thought process behind the incident:

Maximiliano Bretos @mbretosESPN

Every action of Ray Rice in that elevator is appalling if it was done to a male stranger... Your supposed female love one???

Rich Eisen of NFL Network was also among those disturbed by the video:

Rich Eisen @richeisen

The Ray Rice video I just saw sickens me. Disgusting. No place for it. Anywhere.

Before Baltimore released Rice, Grantland's Bill Simmons challenged the team to do just that:

Bill Simmons @BillSimmons

Ravens have to waive Rice today or they are cowards. New video is appalling. I'd like to see someone in the NFL do the right thing for once.

Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports also believed the organization could take action where the league did not:

Charles Robinson @CharlesRobinson

Everyone is talking about the NFL's punishment of Ray Rice, but the Ravens could cut him right now. They don't have to employ him.

Taking it a step further, ESPN.com's Jason Whitlock does not think Rice will ever play in the NFL again:

Jason Whitlock @WhitlockJason

I don't see Rice playing professional football again. And Goodell's job is now on the line, too.

ESPN's Keith Olbermann laid blame on commissioner Roger Goodell:

Keith Olbermann @KeithOlbermann

Roger Goodell's position as Commissioner of the NFL is no longer tenable. Whether he saw the #RayRice video or he did not, he failed.

Peter Burns of the SEC Network shares how he believes the NFL can still save itself in this situation:

Peter Burns @PeterBurnsESPN

Pretty easy fix, NFL should say they are reopening the Ray Rice case. Quiets the storm and gives them chance to right the wrong.

While it remains to be seen what type of additional action the league will take following the released footage and the team's decision to cut him, it is clear there are a lot of angry people wanting further discipline for the running back.

Rice already had an uphill battle of repairing his public image after his actions and suspension. Now, if he does return to the field this season or any other season, it bears watching how teams, players and the fans react in light of this latest footage.

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